Posted by: rogermitchell | March 3, 2011

a different kind of politics

I believe that it’s time, without awkwardness, to propose a new kind of politics, one that meets the call of the neo-Marxists like Hardt and Negri who are looking for a posse to act on behalf of the multitude, what others have termed a swarm, and what Jesus called an ecclesia. That is to say a network of people who will stand in the gap as forerunners for deep structural political change. This, as I understand it, is the primary biblical meaning of the word which over the centuries has come to be associated with what is now called church. However, in the process of the years of misguided partnership between Jesus’ ecclesia and imperial power, contemporary forms of church are generally far removed from Jesus’ intention. So the different kind of politics I am talking about here is also a different kind of church, a more genuine ecclesia.

In pursuit of this, recent posts have talked about living by faith as a counterpolitical way of life, Jesus’ confrontation with the authorities, gender relations, our relationship with the land and true love. Earlier posts have touched on the constituent power of love, the cross as the power of the exception and the moves of the Holy Spirit over the last century as God coming to reposition his ecclesia in the world. In search of a contemporary word for this politics of love I have concocted the word kenarchy. From this perspective the ecclesia is about the practice of kenarchy in the contemporary world.

As I understand it, being the ecclesia and practising kenarchy can start within any kind of political system. While it works towards the kind of democracy that I have been speaking about in recent posts, it recognises that on a spectrum from blatant oppression to covert inequality both Middle Eastern/African dictatorship and Western representative democracy are part of the same imperial family. So kenarchy is emphatically not about affirming the current Western political system. The democracy that kenarchy configures is not about majority rule, but a context in which there is the maximum possible scope for the skills and opinions of everybody.

The challenge of love is to achieve this to the maximum possible extent and to resolve conflicts collaboratively. It is not about a new system but a new way, or journey. So it cannot be described systematically or imposed structurally. Nevertheless there are particular dynamics of Jesus’ life, as I have been developing in recent posts, which I think it may be helpful to express as guidelines or some such, like a manifesto or community rule has provided in the past, but has now been pretty much devalued by covert domination. So this is what I will be developing in, I think, 5 practical statements over the next few posts.

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Responses

  1. Very much looking forward to this


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